Manuals Every Ford Fanatic Should Own

Plus - a link to a very affordable digital option for great technical help!

(L to R: Shop Manual, CVA TSB Volume, 55 Ford Parts Catalog, 1949-59 FoMoCo Parts Illustrations Catalog, 1949-59 FoMoCo Parts ID Catalog)


About a year ago I finally gave in to the requests of many of my friends to join social media; and so, I started a Facebook page. Along the way I joined such groups as the Y Block, Y Blocks Rule, 1949-59 Ford Lovers, 1955-56 Fairlanes, etc. For the most part these have been enjoyable online groups of which to be a member. Parts acquisition and technical advice have been very good. However, there remains one prevailing problem with most that takes place on social media: people are lazy and will not do any homework! Time and time again I find that car and truck owners will join these groups and ask the same repeated questions that have simple answers... many of which can be found in the period manuals that FoMoCo produced. I have found myself many times asking this question in online responses, "Do you have a shop manual?" More irony in this online, "fast-food, fast-answers" culture is that there are always a select few in each group who will post information that contradicts the facts - this misleads the newcomers especially and just exacerbates the problems. Now that I have a good number of my readers upset, let me cut to the chase with some encouragement concerning period literature and its value to help you restore, maintain, and troubleshoot your classic car.

This picture of a shop manual for a 1956 Ford is a reminder that each model year FoMoCo printed a volume for the dealerships to use in their shop for repair, specifications, and technical assistance. I can remember years ago when we first brought our 1955 Ford Fairlane Club Sedan home my father said to me, "Son, we need a shop manual." We ordered a reproduced manual that weekend! When it arrived I think I read it cover to cover for about a month, taking everything in with wonder. As I recall, we picked up a shop manual before we even went after an owner's manual. Granted, not many would have shared my zeal to get into the details of such things, but it is hard to debate the value of such a book as the shop manual. Remember too that Ford also produced a separate manual for their Fordomatic transmissions each year since there was more complexity to these automatics when compared to a standard transmission. Consider the following excerpts from a 55 Ford Shop manual that show both the parts illustration and the procedure for the removal of the door glass.

Such diagrams and written information is a must-have in my opinion when working on these cars. It truly does baffle me when I discover a classic car owner that does not own the shop manual matching his vehicle's model. (Maybe new owners only consider the original owner's manual in the glove box?) While we are on the subject of shop manuals, it must be stated that, like all other companies in manufacturing such complex machines, Ford also made revisions to the shop manuals in the form of Technical Service Bulletins (TSB's). The Crown Victoria Association has conveniently placed all of these into one volume for the 1954-56 Fords. Here are a couple of TSB examples:

The above pages show that these TSB's were used to give mechanics updates on procedures, how to work with customers, and all the rest. At times, these printed leaflets were distributed to introduce new parts, such as the 1956 312 Y Block Hi-Performance Kit!


The next must have book, or set of books, would be the three other catalogs/manuals in the title photo at the very top of this post. If you are restoring a vehicle then hopefully you realize just how beneficial the illustrations and parts identifications can be! Ford did produce one of these for each model year, but I always suggest that enthusiasts acquire the larger volumes (ex: the 1949-59 FoMoCo catalogs). The reason for this is that Ford's options among model years that matched can be readily seen. For instance, when converting the transmission of my 1955 Ford Fairlane from a Fordomatic to a 3 speed with overdrive, the catalogs gave a list of good illustrations (linkage, clutch, gears, etc) and rear end ratios offered by Ford during model years whereby parts could be installed.

On the illustration side of things the diagrams and exploded views certainly helped when re-assembly time of various parts rolled around. Take the two screenshots below. Not only are the part numbers clearly seen, but the orientation of brackets, hardware, seals, etc are all laid out for the mechanic making life much simpler. Over the past several years, I have found that Ford left very little out except maybe a few accessories that were available and mostly installed by dealerships (the rocker panel trim moldings are a prime example).

Over the last decade I have amassed quite a collection of digital scans of some of these manuals, and other information pertinent to the 50s Fords. In the "For Sale" section of this very website there are two different CD's available for purchase. The best of which has this description:


50s Ford Restoration CD

This CD contains a collection of period manuals on the following subjects: *Paxton McCulloch Supercharger information for Cars and Thunderbirds *50s Ford Overhead Valve Engine Manual (Y Block, FE, and I-6) *56 Ford Owner's Manual and Carburetor Service Manual *T85 Transmission Operator, Service, Rebuild, and Troubleshooting Manuals *Both 1949-59 FoMoCo Parts Manuals (found on the other CD we have for sale) *Y Block Magazine Articles written by the Hot Rod Reverend (with color photos) *Many more scans, photos, diagrams, and clip art for 50s Ford Cars and Thunderbirds Ford had two large parts manuals produced for all Ford cars, wagons, and Thunderbirds that were produced between the years of 1949-59. This CD contains digital files of both manuals - almost 2,000 pages total - that are organized according to the table of contents in the original hardcopy manuals. The digital files are both given in a PDF format so any recent version of the Adobe Acrobat Reader can access these files. Two of the photos given are actual screen shots, and these are very simple to print out and take to the garage with you.50s Ford Restoration/Rebuild Manuals on CD

I am happy to announce that after some legwork online during this Coronavirus lock-down, the files on this CD are now available via digital download for the paltry sum of $14. The button below will take you straight to the page to pay and receive your download link of the zip folder containing all of the digital manuals.

There is another manual I would like to mention in this blog post - the Manual above all manuals, the Bible. Within its pages mankind learns of his origin, his purpose, and his destiny. Some of my favorite verses of scripture are included on this page that I wrote concerning the prevailing need of every one of us: https://www.hotrodreverend.com/remember


During these days of confusion, the Coronavirus, political and racial controversy, and the signs of the coming end times, I do trust you are prepared for an eternity with God. The Bible declares that we will all see Him some day. Why would God let any of us in Heaven? What is it that we need to "make it" there? The greatest manual of all has the answers my friend! After visiting my page entitled "Remember," why not visit my Biography page and learn about a life-changing experience I had almost 20 years ago? I hope that you will.


Keeping the FaYth,

The Hot Rod Reverend

aka Daniel Jessup

© 2019 by Daniel Jessup